The hotel buses that inspired the Travelling Brigade

28 May 2019 - Written by Caroline Le Pichon

Paul and Benoît built Natasha based on pioneers in school bus design. Here are the 3 projects that pushed the two Frenchmen to found the Travelling Brigade: Let’s be nomad, Hank bought a bus, and Expedition Happiness. Discover their history….


  • Let’s be nomad

During a trip to Latin America, two Belgians wanted to make their dream come true: to travel on board a converted school bus.


In Nashville, they bought a 12m long bus, then sent it to Belgium by boat so that it could be transformed into a rolling house.


Since then, Tim, Val, and their two daughters Fenna and Ziggy (they are 2 years and 3 months old respectively), have been travelling the roads of Europe, meeting locals to discover new cultures and admire magnificent landscapes. “For us, this project is about loving the road and the adventures it brings us, sharing our way of life and interacting with others.”


Nature lovers and snow sports enthusiasts, they wanted to share their daily lives with other adventurers. Thus, they have additional beds to accommodate travellers for a few days. A cameraman or photographer accompanies them all the time to hold their vlog.


Their project is non-profit, they do it only for their passion. All their profits are either reinvested in their project or donated to mountain sustainability projects.


In addition, their bus is eco-friendly: solar panels, wood stove, vegetarian dishes… To achieve 100% carbon neutrality, they make a monthly donation to the foundation, which is equivalent to the carbon footprint they have emitted.


This year, it’s headed for Norway.

For more information, here is their website:


  • Expedition Happiness : in pursuit of happiness

A couple of Germans, Felix and Selima, decided to go in pursuit of happiness, fleeing their daily lives as city dwellers. They then decided to buy and convert a schoolbus into a rolling house for 3 months.


After meeting in New Zealand on a bicycle trip, the return to Germany makes them unhappy. However, they have everything to be satisfied: great careers (one is a director and the other is a singer [Mogli]), a beautiful apartment… But the return to urban life in the midst of dust, noise and daily pressure makes them want to leave again.


They then embarked on a roadtrip on board their equipped schoolbus. From Canada to Mexico, through Alaska and the United States, they have not planned anything. Living from day to day, enjoying every moment with your family, that’s their quest for happiness.


“Happiness is not being constrained. It’s to get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. Nothing more than that. This happiness is multiplied tenfold when you share it.”


During this trip, they immortalize their daily life and make it into a movie: Expedition Happiness. In 2018, Netflix agreed to release the film on its platform.


Their journey will end in Mexico City, where after months of wandering, the circle is complete: they have found the answer to the question of happiness.


“Going to the same bakery every morning and settling in didn’t look so bad after all. Thus, our travels and search for happiness did not end in an exotic place on the other side of the world, but at the table of a dinner in Germany – with our families at Christmas.”


You can follow them on Facebook: Expedition Happiness.


  • Hank bought a bus

Hank, an architecture student, was one of the first to build a school bus. He made it his final year project:

“I was tired of making projects that only existed on paper and that, at the end of the semester, meant nothing to anyone.”


The reviewers encourage him to continue this original project. Hank, helped by his brother and a photographer friend, then rebuilt the whole bus for 15 weeks. 9000 dollars was enough to transform the little skoolie (nickname given to the converted school buses).


They give themselves a month to travel 5000 miles through the most famous natural spots and cities in the USA: Yellowstone, Seattle, Portland, Yosemite, San Francisco, Las Vegas…


This 18m² mobile home can accommodate up to 6 people to sleep in. With them, they bring friends and family.


From now on, Hank never leaves his mobile cocoon, and tells his adventures on his blog: : Hank bought a bus.


From now on, you know the projects that inspired The Brigade. Of course, there are dozens of other families travelling in school buses: Trebventure, the off grid skoolie, busnbreakfast, the summah bus, the simple bus life…


So, why not you?


To book the routes: click here


The Brigade is offering 4 of them from June 28th: Yosemite and its surroundings, The Magic of the Great West, A Californian trip on road n°1, and the Special Tour.